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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Much of the attention this week in tech was on the litany of quarterly earnings reports, but there's still news in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology world to watch.

Catch up quick: An investigation into the industry's media pay-to-play; a judge dismissed an initial lawsuit against Coinbase over Bitcoin Cash listing; and the SEC's newest commissioner recently met with groups behind the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal.

Investigation into the industry's media pay-to-play (Breaker Magazine)

  • Why it matters: One unfortunate side of the boom in cryptocurrency and blockchain tech interest and activity is the rise of unethical trade press practices — namely some outlets charging fees to promote a project or company. Unethical media behavior has been around long before Bitcoin, but the combination of new and sometimes complex technology, along with lofty promises of fortunes, means that it can be especially damaging when this industry's news sites behave unethically.

Judge dismisses initial lawsuit against Coinbase over Bitcoin Cash listing (Coindesk)

  • Why it matters: Coinbase came under fire last year when the price of Bitcoin Cash spiked just hours before Coinbase announced its listing, leading to suspicions of insider trading. Coinbase says an outside investigation has found no wrongdoing. Still, a judge has dismissed most of this lawsuit's claims without prejudice, meaning that the plaintiff can file a modified complaint that's clearer in making its case.

The SEC's newest commissioner recently met with groups behind Bitcoin ETF proposal (Coindesk)

  • Why it matters: The Bitcoin ETF could have a chance. The SEC rejected a number of proposals recently, though it eventually stayed its rejection of three of them and will reconsider them. Proponents of these ETFs say they'll be a significant step in ushering more institutional capital into the market. (Here's the presentation provided to Commissioner Elad Roisman, who joined in September.)

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

7 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.